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Stage Five — Merging With The Illusion

The 12 Stages of Healing

Whether you’re suffering from physical, mental or emotional pain and are seeking to get on the healing path, we invite you to read our latest blog series, ‘The 12 Stages of Healing.” The series starts with Stage 1, which is Suffering and ends with Stage 12, Community. Our doctors share their wisdom and encouragement to help you move through each stage toward achieving the healing you seek. Each blog concludes with a special breathing exercise and affirmation for that stage of healing.

“I wish to go back to my place and see my beast again.” Beauty, in Beauty and the Beast.

happy woman with arms out in mountainsThe fifth stage of healing involves merging with the fears, pains, illusions and concerns behind the suffering. It is a rite of passage that calls upon us to confront those aspects of ourselves from a place of strength, and from the sincere desire for wholeness. Separation from either the light or dark side of ourselves will produce suffering. With merging, the part of our nature we have alienated, disliked or ignored, is integrated into the whole of our being.

For many people, Stage Five will be a time to merge with their dark side or shadow. Others may have already spent a considerable amount of time with their shadow and are all too familiar with it. For them, Stage Five will be a time to move past the illusions which kept them from their light or their goodness.

Merging is generally not practiced in Western culture. Yet facing up to and eventually merging with our shadow self are important aspects of initiation rites, healing rituals and other sacred ceremonies. It is an integral part of many forms of bodywork, while certain spiritual and religious disciplines view merging as an essential aspect of achieving union with God, bringing us past the shadow of illusion to the light behind the form.

Whenever we journey through the healing process, there comes a time when we have the opportunity to learn from and merge with these aspects of our being so that we can move toward wholeness. Stage Five offers us this opportunity. This process is essential for the stages of healing that are to follow.

Stage Five involves revisiting the place where our suffering began. Here, we not only observe the process behind the suffering, we also experience the process with a stronger sense of self. We know that we are separate from our distress or the source of our suffering, as opposed to being the suffering, as we were in Stage One. As a result, we can merge with the illusion of suffering without “taking it personally.”

Merging with one’s suffering or illusions is the antithesis of the therapeutic model practiced by most symptom-orientated practitioners who primarily move away from the chaos and toward restoring order, whether through drugs, surgery or psychoanalysis. However, those of us who reach the fifth stage of healing need to work with the experience of suffering, pain or chaos. To heal, we must look at what is behind the chaos and invest our energy in getting to know it better and discovering what it has to teach us.

Through Network Chiropractic care, we have found that people will often spontaneously merge with the source of their suffering, while three inner events take place:

1. The mechanical tension on the spinal chord releases when it becomes free of interference.

2. The nervous system remembers the position that the spine was in when the original trauma occurred.

3. The nervous system re-experiences the event with new insight.

When this process is guided by our internal wisdom, the result can be profound. We revisit the experience of a traumatic event from an expanded perspective and an inner desire to be one with the trauma.

When we merge with our suffering, we realize we have been living in an illusion. The person we see now is not the person we thought we knew. The person we interacted with before merging does not react the way we expected. The experience we revisit is not he same as we remembered. When we merge with our illusion, we find a new sense of empowerment on intellectual, spiritual and emotional levels. This strength comes from discovering the truth about certain aspects of our being that lie beyond the illusion.

As with all discoveries, the time must be right. Asking ourselves to merge with our suffering before we have completed the earlier stages of healing is neither physically nor emotionally sound. There is a difference between intentionally moving back into one’s alienated self in order to merge, and spontaneously merging as a natural occurrence. Merging comes about naturally as interference in the spinal system and the connective tissue is removed. Merging is not intentional. We do not know it is occurring until after we are immersed in it.

Merging is a surreal dream in which time and space are warped. We can sit by a lake and experience an event that may have occurred in another part of the world forty years earlier. As we surrender to the sense of suspended time and space, we become aware that it is a major spiritual portal for healing right now.

The importance of merging is expressed in the fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast. Beauty has consistently rejected the Beast’s pleas for marriage because she is repelled by his coarse, ugly appearance. But, eventually, Beauty does agree to marry (merge with) the Beast. As soon as she declares her intentions, the Beast disappears and in his place stands a handsome prince. Through merging with a place of love, Beauty lifted the curse that was placed upon the Beast and they “lived happily ever after.” This teaches that by merging with the “beast within” we become whole again, and we initiate a cycle of healing and growth in our lives.

Behind the suffering we often find a hurt child consciousness that has not grown up with the rest of our being. Like an angry child, this immature consciousness has its demands and needs, irrespective of whether they work for the benefit of the whole organism or ‘family’. By crying, “My needs must be met,” this aspect of ourselves is living out an agenda that has not yet grown up.

Whatever the reality is, our bodies are acting from a small circle of self based upon a limited immature perspective. As we observe and merge with what is beyond the distress, we invite that aspect of our being to grow up. We invite that child to become part of the family again. We ask that alienated aspect of ourselves to merge with and work for the greater good of the whole. Stage Five offers the opportunity for that fragmented aspect of ourselves to be accepted by our whole being.

At the beginning of the merging process, we may experience highly charged situations, but we can dispassionately observe these dramas without becoming identified with, or attached to, them. Later in the merging process, we begin to distinguish between points of agitation and points of stillness. Merging with the images, fears and illusions allows us to encounter the stillness that lies within, beyond the fears and pain. And as we go through this stage several times — which naturally occurs during the healing journey — we will be guided into this space of stillness that lies between the areas of suffering. Rather than moving into the core of agitation or illusion, we now merge into the core of stillness. This place of peace within the suffering is an area of rest between the periods of outer chaos, a rest stop during the healing journey.

As we move in between feelings of inadequacy, shame, fear, drug addiction, pain or asthmatic breathing difficulty, we move to a point of observation. It is as though we place our whole self within the inadequacy, the addictive behavior or the pain, and from there we look around. From this vantage point, we observe and feel. Nothing more needs to be done. All that is needed is to withhold judgment, be open to observing the drama, and feel what is being felt at the moment.

In Stage Five, asking for help or praying reflects preoccupation with mastering your illusion or confronting your darkness. Therefore, we may say something like, “God, help me confront my shadow. Help me make peace with my darkness. Please help me move past my illusions. Help me find the truth behind this.”

Stage Five Exercise

In this exercise, your hands may take claw-like positions or may move in spirals or swirls. As you rock your arms and legs in a synchronous fashion, the rhythm that overtakes you will guide your movements. At times your arms and legs may stop moving. Often, this is the center of the illusion.

Lie comfortably on your back and bring your arms over your chest area. Slowly swirl both hands in circular motions between your chest and head. Breathe deeply in and out through your mouth, striving to synchronize your breathing with the hand motions over your chest. There should be no restrictions to your hands moving over your head and no tension in your arms and shoulders.

Bend your knees. Let your hips and legs sway gently from side to side. Gradually synchronize the movement of your upper and lower limbs with your breathing.

Then, let your arms assume any movement they want to make, and permit this movement to connect to whatever movement your legs want to do. Let the rhythm take over.

Now look into the part of yourself you have identified as the process of suffering. Say hello to the region, and gently touch it. Then say, “What do you want?” Wait for a response. Then reply, “You may have all the acknowledgment you ever wanted.”

Stage Five Declarations

“I welcome all of my parts and experiences.” “I join with my inner family.”

“I merge with my shadow self.” “I merge with my goodness and light.”

“I embrace every aspect of my being.”
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The 12 Stages of Healing

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